Everyone gets angry. It is a strong emotion that we all deal with, however, not everyone deals with it effectively. There are those who are extremely easy-going who let life’s obstacles roll off their shoulder and there are those who react to life’s difficult moments. The problem is, with regard to children, that too often than not, they are not taught effective strategies to deal with their anger so they react to their situations instead of stopping and thinking about what the best solution is.
Children need to know that:
1) Everyone gets angry. This is normal.
2) You cannot control the people or situations that make you angry. You can control what you do with your anger.
3) Handling anger in a negative way will lead to negative consequences, leading to a negative reputation and a poor self-image.
4) When you are angry: (a) remain calm; (b) stop and think about what you should do and what will happen when you do it and (c) learn from your mistakes. If you lose control and handle your anger in a negative way, figure out what you did wrong so that you can learn from your mistakes.
5) Know what your signals are that tell you that you are getting angry. This way you can prevent yourself from losing control.
6) Do not allow anger to control you. You have the power to control your anger.
Strategies to Try
• Stop, think and make a plan: Know what to do when you do get angry. Prepare yourself.
• Remove yourself from the person or situation that is making you angry.
• Go to a quiet place until you have calmed down.
• Count to ten and take deep breaths: This allows you to calm yourself down, relaxing your body and regaining your thoughts so that you can handle your anger in a positive way.
• Talk to someone about what is making you angry. It is important to let out the anger that is building up inside of you. It will make you feel better. You will feel better and be less likely to blow up at the wrong person, which will get you into trouble.
• Anger equals energy: Use your anger as a form of energy. Use your anger to energize yourself and motivate yourself to do something positive. Channel your anger into something that you are doing. If you are skating, use your anger to skate faster. If you are studying, use your anger to study harder. It is possible to turn a negative into a positive. Use your anger wisely.
• Write your feelings down sometimes helps get the anger out.
• Exercise helps you get your anger out in a positive way. Ride your bike around the block, call up your friends or organize a game. If you get rid of your anger by exercising you will feel better, and be able to stop and think about how to handle the situation that made you angry in a positive way.
• Time and space: Put time and space between you and what is making you angry. This will allow you to calm down, relax, stop and then think about how to handle your anger.
Anger is a very powerful emotion, but it is an emotion we can control if we chose to. The first step is learning effective strategies that will help us be successful. The strategies mentioned in this article are available in Scott Graham’s Heroes of Hope book available at kids4kidsleadership.com